Radio frequency cure for back pain

Lisbon: Radio frequency therapy has been successfully used to treat back pain caused by disc problems, in trials by Swiss and Portuguese doctors.

The therapy, Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy, is believed to work by preventing the nerve treated from sending pain signals. The specialists who carried out the trial say the results make radiofrequency a potential alternative to steroid injections.

Most of the patients required no more treatments, although pain levels had originally been so high that all had been scheduled for surgery. But soon after treatment, which involves targeting nerves with pulses of radio frequency, all but one of the patients had returned to work.

It’s estimated that six out of 10 people will have back pain at some time, and many will be diagnosed with a herniated disc, where the cushion that sits between the spinal vertebra is pushed outside its normal position, and comes into contact with nerves. These nerves can become compressed or trapped causing pain.